- Not all IT security deals in cybersecurity, but all cybersecurity is IT security.
- IT and cybersecurity complement each other, but to expect that IT teams are keeping all aspects of cybersecurity in mind can be a dangerous assumption.
- For an organization to thrive in a digital world, IT and cybersecurity must coexist, support, and empower each other.
In today’s modern work environment, organizations are racing to execute digital-first business models to stay ahead of competition. However, digital transformation is a double-edged sword—it promotes growth but it can also increase risk. To be safe and successful, digitization needs support from not just one department but two: Information Technology (IT) to lead the technological charge and cybersecurity to drive the defense.
The Difference Between IT and Cybersecurity
The lines between IT and cybersecurity are often blurred, with many organizations thinking that an IT team is enough to keep their people and data secure. However, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) recognizes these two departments as separate due to differences in goals, objectives, and responsibilities.
At its core, IT is the backbone of an organization’s technological framework. This team is focused on managing and optimizing an organization’s technological assets, which includes duties such as setting up, maintaining, and updating servers, computers, networks, and software applications. The goal of IT is to ensure that these digital tools function seamlessly, supporting everyday operations and increasing efficiency.
But there’s one thing missing—a focus on protecting the organization. That’s where a cybersecurity team comes in.
Cybersecurity teams are generally concerned with managing and minimizing risk in an organization. Tasks in this area involve continuously monitoring networks for potential breaches, addressing security incidents, and staying on top of evolving cyber threats.
Not all IT security deals in cybersecurity, but all cybersecurity is IT security.
While both IT and cybersecurity hinge on technology, their goals and objectives differ.
IT prioritizes operational functionality and efficiency, striving to ensure systems and processes run without a hitch. In contrast, cybersecurity leans heavily on fortification, ensuring that while these systems are up and running, they remain well-guarded against evolving threats.
Through the lens of IT, challenges manifest as system crashes or potential downtimes. For cybersecurity, however, threats include hackers, malware, and unauthorized breaches.
Does Your Organization Need Both Cybersecurity & IT?
IT and cybersecurity complement each other, but to expect that IT teams are keeping all aspects of cybersecurity in mind can be a dangerous assumption.
For example, consider the findings from the Computing Technology Industry Association highlighting the most prominent roles of IT professionals within an organization:
While cybersecurity is mentioned briefly, it comes in second to last with only 28% of respondents prioritizing this area.
Consider IT as the foundation of your digital house, and cybersecurity as its fortified walls and advanced security systems. You wouldn’t want a house without strong walls, just as you wouldn’t want walls without a foundational structure.
Undoubtedly, cybersecurity teams will struggle when working with infrastructure and applications that do not meet optimal standards. Similarly, IT teams can excel in service delivery, but it becomes irrelevant if the underlying assets aren’t secure.
Additional benefits of an organization having both cybersecurity and IT professionals include:
- Growth & Scalability: As your organization grows and adopts more technology, IT ensures that scaling is seamless. Cybersecurity guarantees that this growth does not render the company more vulnerable to threats.
- Regulatory Compliance: Many industries face strict regulations regarding data protection. While IT ensures data accessibility, cybersecurity ensures that this data adheres to protection standards.
- Trust & Reputation: In an age where data breaches make headlines, companies can’t afford to overlook cybersecurity. A secure organization fosters trust among its stakeholders and clients.
How Cybersecurity & IT Can Work Together in Harmony
While IT departments tend to develop their teams, processes, and priorities around ensuring service delivery, cybersecurity departments often view the organization through the lens of prevention and risk management.
Though these two priorities may not seem at odds with each other, there is enough of a gap to create inefficiencies at the least and serious problems at the worst, if not acknowledged.
So how can your organization enable cybersecurity teams and IT teams to work together in harmony?
- Encourage Transparency. Professionals from both departments must have exposure to each other’s programs—including strengths and weaknesses. IT should know what cybersecurity is dealing with, and vice versa.
- Establish Shared Objectives. Though there are differences to priorities and goals, the overlap between IT and cybersecurity must be acknowledged. By defining common objectives, both teams can work towards a unified vision.
- Foster Collaboration. Cybersecurity teams can educate IT on the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and best practices, while IT teams can offer insight into infrastructure nuances, application behaviors, and operational challenges. This collaboration ensures both teams are aligned and can anticipate future needs.
Another solution is to incorporate outsourced and managed services. Outsourcing your IT and/or cybersecurity teams can help ensure everyone is working towards the same goals—and it often means you’ll receive more expertise at a lower cost than hiring an internal team. At Eide Bailly, we offer a wide range of outsourced technology solutions that include both IT and cybersecurity components—from application management, to data analytics, to secure cloud, and more.
IT & Cybersecurity: Two Sides of the Same Coin
For an organization to thrive in a digital world, IT and cybersecurity must coexist, support, and empower each other.
If this collaboration feels difficult at your organization, consider hiring a team to help. A company like Eide Bailly can act as a trusted advisor to guide you through any pitfalls or as an outsourced provider to help fill the gaps in your IT or cybersecurity departments.